Iranians disillusioned with Islam, according to survey

Monday, September 28th, 2020

A new survey by a secular research body has shed new light on the religious leanings of ordinary Iranians.

In the survey by Netherlands-based researchers GAMAAN, 1.5% of respondents identified as Christian. This means that there are almost certainly over one million Christians in Iran, confirming what observers have been saying for several years about church growth. It also proves another claim that has been made over many years: Iranians are disillusioned with Islam.

Of the 50,000 Iranians who were surveyed:

  • Only 32% identified as Shia Muslims. (The government claims 90-95% of Iranians are Shiites.) 
  • More than 52% said they had either changed from being religious to having no religion (46.8%) or had left one religion for another (5.8%).
  • 7.7% identified as Zoroastrians, the ancient Persian religion, hinting at a rise in nationalism. 
Commenting on the survey, David Yeghnazar, executive director of Elam, said, “It is encouraging to see our estimates about the growth of Christianity in Iran substantiated by this academic research. But the survey also underscores that secularism has a growing pull on the Iranian mind. For those of us serving the church in the Iran region, this confirms the importance of discipleship for the hundreds of thousands of new believers in Christ – for their own growth, and for the health of the church in the years to come.”
Please pray with us for:
  • Those in Iran who are feeling disillusioned and spiritually lost;
  • Discipleship to keep pace with the number of people coming to Christ;
  • Faithful discipleship of new Christians through programmes like Safar, Elam’s one-to-one discipleship journey.